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Dear Julie, (Palast part II)

August 24th, 2010 | Posted by David in Eddie Farrell (UK/DE) | Julie Rafalski (PL/US)

It’s funny you should mention the Palast der Republik as I pass the former sight of this building every other day. Now being a large green site in the centre of Berlin it has also become a very contentious space as last year the German Parliament agreed funding to rebuild the Schloss/ palace ( destroyed at the end of the 2nd world war) on this sight before The Palast der Republik. There have been a series of campaigns protesting against any costly rebuilding particularly if it means recreating a symbol of despotic rule from earlier times. I have heard it voiced that one of the main reasons given for dismantling the Palast der Republik was the high amount of asbestos found in it. One view, which argued against the Palast der Republics complete demolition, felt that the governing parties want to rid Berlin of as many of the former DDR symbols as possible and that using the Asbestos argument to dismantle the whole building was just an excuse to get rid of it because if they seriously applied the same rule to the whole of Berlin they would have to destroy an unimaginable amount of Buildings. Other former West Berliners talk with some nostalgia of day visits to the Palast der Republik before the wall came down. Tacky is a word that’s used a lot. Although fun is another. Drinking dancing and Volksmusik seemed to be on the menu and there are a few snippets of this to be seen on You Tube which may supplement your post card image.

I am not sure when the building work will start so in the meantime it remains an impressive open grass space in the centre of the city. Last winter the green space became white with snow for a couple of months and played host to one of the best exhibitions that I’ve seen in a years. Thankfully Katharine Eastman did the necessary documentation which you can see in these photos.

palast-01palast-02palast-03

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One Response

  • Julie says:

    I only just read your post now. The Palast site seems like a great space; it would be a shame if they put a palace there.

    Yes- it’s interesting how there’s a tendency in the former eastern block to erase any physical traces of the communist past and hark back to a past that’s more remote and idyllic.

    Thanks for the links to the documentary films- the footage is fascinating. And the snowmen must have been great live!



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